How to Paint on Wood Slices (Plus How to Draw or Write on Them)

Just when you thought you had come across every different artistic format, you find another.

In this guide, we’re exploring how to write, draw and paint on wood slices.

A wood slice is exactly what you might think, a thin slice of wood from a tree that has been cut own. It’s a sustainable format, and it can create some beautiful results. We’ve seen everything from abstract art to beautiful portraits on these slices of wood, and they can add an incredible texture to your art.

Wood slices have become popular for pyrography, but they can also be used to create stunning paintings and drawings.

Without further ado, let’s look at how to paint on wood slices.

Step One: Source Your Wood

wood for painting

If you’re the sort of person who is good at crafts, you might think it is really easy to slice a piece of wood for painting on. That may well be true. However, just any slice of wood won’t do it, you need something suitable.

By suitable, we mean as flat as possible. Painting or drawing anything intricate is very tough if the wood is not flat. A little bit of an angle might be okay, but you don’t want anything that feels overly bumpy. If you can provide a clean and straight cut, that’s fine, but if not, it might be easier to buy some wood slices.

Thanks to the rise in pyrography and the fact that so many people are starting to use wood for their artwork, it’s not hard to find flat wood slices that aren’t too expensive. If you buy wood slices like these ones, you can even choose different sizes of wood to paint on.

Step Two: To Treat, or Not to Treat?

Do you need to treat the wood? A lot of people will be looking to ‘prime’ the wood ready for painting, and this means using some sort of wood primer. You can also use gesso for the task.

You don’t necessarily have to prime, or you might be able to buy wood that has already been treated. It really depends on what sort of end result you are looking for. Treated wood will usually give a long-lasting finish.

Step Three: Outlining As Required

Before you explore how to paint on wood, you need to do a little bit of planning. It may help you to create the best possible artwork if you do some simple outlining first. This is the same whether you want to paint or draw. For instance, let’s say you want to do some really fancy wording on your wood, going straight in with a pen for wood isn’t the best option.

Use your outline as a guide while you are creating your artwork. Some people even choose to use stencils or stamps.

Pencil erasers or magic erasers should be able to remove the pencil from wood. Those who have seen our guide on removing pencil from walls will know that erasers can be more helpful than you might have imagined.

Step Four: Choose Your Paints or Pens

Not everything in your art set is going to be suitable for drawing on wood or painting on wood slices.

After you’ve treated the wood, you will find that acrylic paints work perfectly. This means you have one option that is already sitting in your art desk.

However, one of the best options you can find is a paint pen, and there are loads of these on the market.

Paint pens for wood are similar to the sorts of pens you can use for drawing or painting on rocks and pebbles. Check out the Artistro Set of 12 Acrylic Paint Markers, which can draw and paint perfectly on all kinds of wood as well as glass and other formats. This makes it the ideal choice for drawing or for doing any sort of decorative writing or even some calligraphy. You can buy sets with many more than 12 pens, too.

If you already have them in your arsenal, you can use your POSCA pens to good effect on treated wood.

Step Five: Get Creative

If you’re already an artist, you may already have an idea of what sort of drawing or painting you want to do on the surface. How can you draw or write on wood slices? That’s really up to you.

This is such a fun activity to do with kids, and if you’re into crafting then this can be a great way to spend a rainy Sunday. A lot of people paint on wood to create specific decorations such as wedding centerpieces, or even artwork that you can sell.

The video above from the excellent Allison Lyon shows you just how wonderful these forms of artwork can be.

Summary – A Chance to Get Creative

There’s a lot that can be done with wood slices, and you don’t have to follow the rules, either. Our guide on how to paint on wood slices shows just some of the methods, but there are all sorts of ways to create awesome artwork on wood. You could combine pyrography into the process, for instance.

Do you have any ideas and techniques that you have used and wish to share them? Drop us a comment below showing what you have done with your wood slices to create amazing art or just to have a fun activity with the kids.


What are wood slices used for?

There’s virtually no limit to what you can use wood slices for. They made fantastic coasters if you use a smaller slice, but they can also make decorations such as wooden Christmas decorations, Halloween and wedding favors.

Wood slices are one of the most popular crafting materials out there, as they are so versatile and affordable.

How do I prevent wood slices from cracking?

One of the few downsides of using wood slices is that they can crack after they’ve been decorated. To prevent this, use a wood sealer after you paint your wood slices to stop cracks or splits in the wood. It’s definitely annoying if you spend a long time on some artwork and it then cracks after a few weeks.

Where to buy wood slices?

You can find wood slices at some crafting shops, but it is easiest to buy them online, somewhere like Amazon. Check out these wood slices which are available in different sizes so you can choose the suitable circumference for your needs.

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